Interview: Warlock Joel Gausten
1. What first attracted you to Satanism? How did you first discover The Church of Satan?
I first became aware of “Satanism” through the infamous “Satanic Panic” of the 1980s. I remember watching those television programs hosted by Geraldo Rivera and his ilk and thinking, “There is NO WAY this stuff is real.” After all, if thousands of bloodthirsty nutcases were roaming the streets killing cows and abducting children, wouldn’t someone OTHER than a second-rate “journalist”/talk-show host notice?
As I grew older, I came across interviews with “Satanic” musicians like King Diamond, Thomas Thorn and David Vincent in my favorite music magazines. They all struck me as incredibly intelligent and well-spoken gentlemen, and I became interested in discovering for myself what REAL Satanism was and is. It took only one read through the Satanic Bible for me to realize that I was born a Satanist. After a lengthy period of research and consideration, I joined the Church of Satan on July 17, 2002 – my 25th birthday. I discuss my evolution as a Satanist in my new book, “Words From The Third Side: Essays on Sex, Satan & Success.”
2. If you have had or could have the chance to speak with Anton LaVey, what would you of liked to talk to him about, what questions would you ask him?
I would have loved to talk to Dr. LaVey about what he considered to be the most evocative Satanic music. Sure, he talked about his favorite tunes at length when he was still alive, but I would have loved to see his visible excitement and joy when discussing the songs that meant the most to him. If you really want to understand a person, review his or her music collection!
3. If you had to name 5 satanic/occult books (outside of the works of Anton LaVey and Blanche Barton) that you would recommend for others to read what would they be? Who is your favorite author?
I’ve always loved Gavin Baddeley’s approach to journalism. He’s a very “warts and all” writer, which is what made his book, “Lucifer Rising,” such a pleasurable read. I appreciate the fact that he gave equal space to Magus Gilmore and Dr. LaVey AND people like Paul Valentine, allowing the reader to make up his or her own mind on who were the kooks and who were the real Satanists. I also quite liked “The Satanic Scriptures” by Magus Gilmore and “Lords of Chaos” by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind. I’d also recommend anything by Magister Matt G. Paradise. Naturally, the fifth book I’d recommend would by my own!
4. What would you do if another Satanic Panic broke out in the media and America? What is the biggest threat facing Satanism in our modern age?
Technology has enabled all of us to gain information on an infinite list of topics with the simple touch of a computer key. There are accomplished Satanists in every conceivable profession and walk of life – from government to the arts. We live our lives to the fullest, and conduct ourselves without the ludicrous doctrines of Christianity keeping us running in place. With this in mind, I’d say WE are a greater threat to the status quo of herd conformity than any half-witted conspiracy theorist could ever imagine. We understand the TRUE meaning of life, and we fear nothing.
5. Artificial Environments. Artificial Human Companions. Both terms invented by LaVey. How much of a role do these two things play a role in your life? Do you have any suggestions on how to create these environments or companions for other Satanists?
My thoughts on my own use of artificial environments and companions are lengthy and could – and very likely will – inspire an entire essay from me in the near future. As far as suggestions to other Satanists… just do whatever pleases YOUR tastes. It doesn’t matter if someone else “gets it” or not. Go with what fulfills your needs above all.
6. How important is ritual to you in your life as a Satanist? Is ritual absolutely necessary for magic to work its effects? And do you think the act of conducting magic in ritual a ‘faith based’ idea or it is more scientific than that?
I discuss my thoughts on ritual at length in my new book. I tend not to practice “traditional” Satanic ritual, opting instead to indulge in rituals of my own creation. Ritual is incredibly important to my life for one simple reason – it works! I could list numerous things that have happened in my life that are the direct result of ritual.
7. If Hell was real, who might you first try to contact when you arrive there?
Warlock Shawn Poirier. I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, but his life and death led to certain events in my own life that are of great significance to me. He has become an important figure in my life, for reasons that shall remain known only to me and a very few select individuals. Hail Shawn!
8. If you could change this world in any way whatsoever what exactly would you change?
I already affect the world every day by being as happy, productive and accomplished as possible. I absolutely love my life and those who enrich it.
9. Please tell me about any projects you might have and where you’re at in the online world.
Where am I NOT at in the online world! My official website can be found at www.gaustenbooks.com. My new book, “Words From The Third Side,” can be ordered online at www.lulu.com/content/5494803. My Myspace page for my book projects can be found at www.myspace.com/gaustenbooks. I’m also on Letters to the Devil, Facebook and the Undercroft. My official biography is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Gausten.
I am currently writing five more books PLUS working on numerous projects with my fiancee, Witch Shannon Gardner (www.shannongardner.net). We’re doing a compilation book called “Satanic Familiar,” which is a collection of essays by CoS members on their experiences with pets and animals. More information on that project is available at http://www.myspace.com/satanicfamiliar. I’m also working on some new, to-be-announced things with my old friend, Martin Atkins (Nine Inch Nails/Ministry), and will appear on the next Undead album. I also act as a media representative for the CoS.
10. Any final thoughts or anything you’d like to share?
Thank you for the insightful questions. Hail Satan!